Much has been made about Blake Griffin’s arrival in Brooklyn, where the six-time All-Star adds an extra dose of star power to a Nets team that also includes three bona-fide superstars in Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving. Griffin, the former Piston, signed with the Nets earlier this month after agreeing to a contract buyout with Detroit.
But arguably just as much has been made about Griffin’s dunking ability — or seemingly lack thereof. Griffin, whose name became synonymous with highlight-reel slams during the first half of his career, has not dunked in an NBA game since December 2019.
In an interview earlier this week with ESPN’s Malika Andrews, Griffin said he promises he still can dunk. On the Thursday edition of the Pardon My Take podcast with Barstool Sports’ PFT and Dan “Big Cat” Katz, the 32-year-old revealed a bit more about his feelings on his dunk drought — and the public’s reaction to it.
One-on-one with Blake Griffin: The Nets forward discusses how he envisions his role with Brooklyn, what winning a title would mean to him — and of course, dunking. Catch the full interview tonight ahead of the Knicks/Nets game on @ESPN (8 ET). pic.twitter.com/1jAhxZAZ4G
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) March 15, 2021
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Griffin Comes Clean
It’s hard to believe, but Griffin’s last dunk came on December 6, 2019 — a startling stat when considering how many emphatic slams the former No. 1 overall pick has on his resume.
In addressing the topic on Pardon My Take, Big Cat got philosophical, asking Griffin if it’s better to have never dunked than to have dunked but lost all ability to do so in the future.
Griffin took a moment to grasp that concept before responding.
“Yeah, but beyond just that,” he said, “I think just everyone in general being like, ‘Oh, this guy hasn’t dunked,’ and none of those people can probably dunk (themselves), is probably worse. Because it’s people making fun of me for doing something they’ve never done.”
That’s about when Griffin was done beating around the bush.
“In all seriousness, let’s really talk about this,” Griffin said. “The whole thing is like, ‘Oh, Blake hasn’t dunked since 2019.’ My last game that I played (before this season) was in December of 2019. I didn’t play a basketball game for an entire year until this season started. So I’ve played like, what, 19 games this season? So it’s been 19 games. So when everybody’s like, ‘It’s been 400 and (whatever) days,’ it sounds crazy, but really it’s been like 19 games.”
Still, PFT wanted to stick to the exaggerated version: “Right, but how many days?” the Pardon My Take co-host asked Griffin.
Griffin, under his breath, responded without hesitation: “It’s 467.”
Both PMT hosts laughed.
“Yeah, so, I got to dunk, man,” Griffin said.
Blake Griffin CAN still dunk. Stop with the slander! pic.twitter.com/26UH6hmsoV
— Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) March 19, 2021
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When Will Griffin Finally Suit Up?
The Pistons sat Griffin during his final month in Detroit as they worked to find him a suitable landing spot. That time away from the court has left Griffin requiring a ramp-up period before he finally dons a Nets uniform and plays for his new team.
When, exactly, might that be?
Nets coach Steve Nash wouldn’t delve into specifics, but he certainly sounded optimistic prior to Friday’s game against the Orlando Magic.
“I don’t know,” Nash told reporters, via Newsday‘s Greg Logan. “I think he is getting closer. I think he’s doing great, looks good and is improving and is working hard off the floor as well. I think he’s addressing all the things he needs to address to land safely back in the game and to transition into our team. That’s not easy. We don’t take that for granted.
“He has to adapt to the way we play, new teammates, new system, new style. But he’s doing everything you could ask for. I think just his presence is important because he is an intelligent, mature, experienced player. We’re looking forward to having him back. I don’t know when that will be, but I think it’s coming. He does look really good right now.”